Freight railroads in the U.S. have spent about $500 billion of their own money over the past 30 years to strengthen networks, beef up infrastructure and in general prepare for anticipated increases in traffic. Demand for rail shipping is expected to double by 2035. Last year they spent $23 billion when "business [was] relatively quiet and money [was] cheap." The result of all this investment? "Whatever loads America needs to shift in the future, railways are well placed to do the job," says The Economist.

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